My husband, eleven month old son and I stayed at the Natural Park Apartments for three weeks. We booked our holiday through Ving. We chose Natural Park because we have stayed in that particular part of Puerto Rico three times before, liked the view and sunset from the balcony, and because it was described as a "family hotel".
We requested a room with the view we were familar with. When we arrived we were given the only room on that floor with very little direct sun on the balcony. We requested to move and patiently waited one week (and were willing to pay a change room fee) to do so. On the morning of the move (and at no time before) the "Manageress" as she calls herself, told us several people had complained about the noise our son was making when playing on the tile floor in the morning. Not wanting to disturb others we agreed to move to a room on the ground floor. The new room received no direct sunlight at all, was next to the mountain, under a busy staircase and as far away from our rental car as we could be. When we told the "Manageress" we were unhappy she acted surprised, told us the hotel was fully booked but we could choose from two other rooms. The first was apparently a pigoen poop landing site (excellent for a crawling baby that puts everything into his mouth) and the handicapped room (a room in which I wouldn't even recommend to the most able-bodied). The hotel was never fully-booked; we could plainly see the stacked furniture on the balconies of other rooms during the remainder of our stay.
In general the condition of the apartments there is of a low standard. Natural Park is given a four rating by Ving but the apartment was far less equiped than the two rating places we had stayed at in the past on the same street. This is fine if you don't like a remote control for your television, a spatual (or many other utensils) for cooking, a comfortable bed, proper towel rack in the bathroom (the only towel rack hangs IN the shower) or a unbroken drying rack, etc. In addition, the layout of the room is not what we had been use to. The balcony was off of the bedroom (instead of the main living space) which made it very inconvient to relax and have dinner there after the baby had gone to bed. All three of the bathrooms were a Spanished-tiled death trap after a shower. Don't worry though, each room was provided with an ineffective, crusty mop and bucket to try to wash your personal moat up with.
Natural Park is also given a environmently-friendly rating by Ving. I found no evidence to how they earned it . For example, as far as we could see no trash was recycled (even when we seperated and rinsed bottles, cans, etc.) cleaning products were the same old Spanish gag-inducing industrial-strength stuff and I smelled clorine in the pool. It seems to us that the only reason Natural Park has "gone green" is to save themselves money. You are given an electricity key so you can't lock your hotel room from the outside and leave any lights on. Not great if you want to shower while your partner leaves the room or you would like to use the baby monitor to have a swim while he is asleep in the room. But I think the worst of their "going green" is their unwillingness to change sheets or towels! Guests are allowed fresh towels three times a week. You receive them by a distruptive ring of your doorbell by the "towel Nazi" and can only exchange an exact number of towels (they give us no extra towels for the baby). They did not change our sheets AT ALL in three weeks until asked to do so because my son had peed on one of them. When we returned that evening we found that some sheets had been changed but not all (I know not only because of the pee stain but because I drew a tiny smiley face on some of the sheets when we first arrived). To their enviromentally-friendly credit, the third week I was there I found a post box labelled for recycling batteries tucked in a back corner of the reception area.
The entertainment (I am using that term very losely) of the British wannabe Vegas-lounge act at the Guanabara Park hotel across the street was extremely disturbing ( in more ways than one;). At times my husband and I couldn't even hear each other when we were sitting next to one another on our balcony. The management said they had received many complaints but there was simply nothing they could do about it. Curiously though, our hotel and the neighboring one played music in the pool areas during the evenings the Elvis wannabe was having a night off leaving us to think that the management of the hotels in the area had made an agreement with one another.
Overall we found the housekeeping staff (apart from the head of housekeeping) to be friendly and good at their jobs but the managment , head of housekeeping and the reception staff to be unfriendly and condencending. I have never felt unwelcomed at any hotel before this stay and even though we wanted to change rooms I really don't know why we were treated so badly. You don't need details but trying to get clean sheets or a decent room during a three week stay turned into a very uncomfortable, at times embarassing, and humiliating situation for us.
The pool area and the resturant are clean and nice. The tiled pool area is cleaned nearly everyday but the outside walkways (to and from the rooms for example) are in desperate need of a wash.
The security is terrible. Even though they have 24 hour reception and video survellience I don't think the grounds are watched properly and the front gate is never locked. However, the biggest fault in their security lies in the design of the room. Nearly every room (apart from the handicapped room) has the only window for the living area next to the front door. If you would like fresh air and electricity at the same time you need to constantly have your key in a socket right next to the open window. Anyone can very easliy reach through and grab your key or simply open your front door themselves.
I think Natural Park is an OK place to stay if your kids are older but in general I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who may need to ask reception for help or housekeeping for clean sheets or towels. Good luck!
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- Also Known As:
- Natural Park Apartments Hotel Puerto Rico
- Natural Park Apartments Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria